Monday, June 29, 2015

14th Deadly Sin

Title: 14th Deadly Sin
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published: May 4, 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genre: Police Procedural
Series: Women's Murder Club #14

Finally, a murder club book that did not have the out of nowhere perfect ending.

Once again, my love hate relationship with James Patterson and his writer du jour was put to the test with 14th Deadly Sin. I love the women but sometimes the simplicity of the scenarios is absurd. This time, the ending was a bit of a dangler and the reader is left wondering if Lindsay will have finally met her match. Will the next book, number 15 in the series, be putting Lindsay’s family in danger? Will her clever mind not be able to jump to the correct conclusions? Sometimes I wonder how Lindsey can always guess the correct outcome without all the necessary parts. It is if the writing team does not have the answers either and just hopes that the reader will do it for them.

With baby Julie tucked in for the night, husband Joe Molinari is finally able to get back to work on a consulting job. Unfortunately, that is stymied when he is abruptly fired. For me, that part of the narrative never fully played out, but that takes a backseat when Lindsay receives a call that a woman has been stabbed. Lindsay was in the middle of dinner with her friends celebrating Medical Examiner Claire Washburn’s birthday when the call came in. Claire rolls her eyes and mentions that for the last several years, Lindsay has had to leave early on this annual celebration due to a police emergency. Soon Lindsay starts associating murders to the date and realizes that she just might be dealing with a serial killer. One that she is referring to “CBM” Claire’s Birthday Murders.

At the same time, there are a series of strong-arm robberies going on in San Francisco. The only problem, the men doing the robbing are wearing SFPD windbreakers. This has to be a coincidence since Lindsay is sure that her fellow men in blue would not be guilty of such heinous crimes. Now add that the most recent incident with the windbreaker gang involved the taking of drugs and cash from the notorious Kingfisher and Lindsay’s life will never be the same.

Back to Joe, since he is currently without a job and being a stay at home dad is making him whiney, he decides to do a little investigating on his own. Only to do something so ridiculous that you, as the reader, begin to wonder if any person can be that stupid.

Oh, there is also an additional subplot about Yuki Castellano. She is branching out a bit and when it comes to taking on the big guys, she does not back down and somehow, she is the one that is tying up all the loose ends.

I know, it is a love hate relationship and though I complain about these books, I tend to wait patiently for the next installment. I do not know what is wrong with me, but the women are so likable. Patterson and his fellow writer packs a great deal into his books so if one of the stories is troubling just wait a page or two and something new will come along.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dressed to Kill

Title: Dressed to Kill
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Published: June 23rd 2015 by Kensington
Format: ebook, Paperback pgs 320
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Kensington for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #4

Following on the same vein as the previous books, Jill Gardner, the owner of Coffee, Books, and More finds herself in the middle of another amateur investigation when Kent Paine is found dead during a dress rehearsal for a community production. Kent the local bank manager is quite the Lothario with a long list of angry and betrayed women. Greg King the local detective has his hands full in trying to track down the most likely culprit, including Kent’s ex-wife Cheryl who just happens to be the area representative for the bank’s security system and Anne a bank teller who has a penchant for amphibious creatures.

South Cove is a quiet California seaside tourist town, but there certainly is a great deal going on. Not only has Sherry, Greg’s ex-wife moved to town to start a vintage clothing store, but she is also Kent’s girlfriend and it certainly seems that she knows more about his death than she is letting on.

The Tourist Trap Mystery series is very easy to read. There are no major twists or red herrings, but a simple straight forward telling of a cozy mystery. It is nice to see the recurring characters and as the series winds its way, the reader gets to know their little quirks and insights. Who is dating whom, is Esmeralda really a fortune-teller or just lucky, the hot coffee guy who calls himself a ‘reformed playboy’ is looking to settle down, the pie lady has a little love interest on the side. It is nice to see that small towns are their own little soap operas, it does not matter what your personal business is, someone will have an opinion and a bump in destined to be right in the middle of your road.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss

Title: The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss
Author: Krista Davis
Published: June 2nd 2015 by Berkley
Format: ebook, Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Domestic Diva Mystery #9

Halfway through this book I realized that I needed one of those murder boards that you see on television with the lines connecting each suspect and cross outs through the leads that did not pan out. I tell you, Krista Davis must take some evil pleasure in confusing her readers with twists and characters.

Coco Ross lost her grandfather; her mother had survived but spends her days as in invalid locked in a room. Coco’s marriage was over, her lover has died and her first love had been murder. At one time, Coco and her younger sister Kara were in love with the same man. This has torn their family apart and now thirty years later, they are still quavering from that horrible night and the choices that were made. To top it all off, Joe (Coco’s father) is either dead or missing and the remaining family must step up to keep their chocolate company afloat.

This is the latest fiasco that Sophie Winston finds herself in when she agrees to help with the sixtieth anniversary of Amore Chocolate. Joe Merano, the patriarch, has gone missing and each family member has approached Sophie to help in finding him. Convinced that she is not getting any truths she will not give up since she is determined to help Nonni, Joe’s mother, find the answers.

Throw in the usual Natasha and Mars drama and Sophie has her hands full, especially when new love interest Alex allows his jealousy to get in the way and Sophie must take a step back and decide what male craziness she will allow in her life.

To say that there are numerous twists is to really downplay this book. I was almost to the point of making a suspect list, if not a family tree, myself. Between family members, Amore employee’s, contestant winners, Old Town residents and police officers, I think the character count was quickly approaching twenty people which is more than you usually find in a cozy. Krista Davis did do her best in keeping them separate, but still, I was glad that I was reading on the Kindle so I could do a quick look back as to who someone was.

With this series, you will have as many descriptions of food as you do of Sophie’s wardrobe. This might dissuade some from this series, but it is one of the many quirts that keep you coming back.

Friday, June 12, 2015

You Should Have Known

Title: You Should Have Known
Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published: March 2014 by Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 438 pages
Genre: Fiction

I was pretty sure that this book was never going to end. What started as an attention grabber ended with a giant sigh of relief. I am sure that Jean Hanff Korelitz wanted to endure Grace Reinhart Sachs to her readers, but by the end, I was done with her.

Grace is that Upper East Side mother whose main concerns seem to be the school that her son attends and the violin practice that he must attend. Both will tell you that he is not Julliard material, but yet, this seems to be the center of their world. When Grace is not rushing to PTA type meetings, she is a therapist with a thriving couples practice. Her own beliefs and what she has seen in her practice has led her to write a self-help type of book called “You Should Have Known”, that points out to women that if they had just paid better attention when dating, they would have seen the flaws in their men before they had gotten married and destroyed their lives.

Oh, the things that we should not preach to others has a way of coming back and biting us. This is where we meet her husband, Jonathan Sachs a pediatric oncologist, which swept her off her feet while they were in college. It did not matter that her friends seemed to have disappeared during their early years together. Grace had Jonathan and then their son Henry, a thriving practice, an acquaintance or two and an apartment in her beloved New York.

The blinders start to come off when a mother from Henry’s school is murdered and needing to talk to her husband, Grace is unable to contact Jonathan who is away at a medical conference. Why are the police knocking at her door? Why does the headmaster at her son’s private school need to speak with her? Why are her friends starting to look at her strangely? Her world is crumbling and she is the last to know.

Denial is a hard thing for anyone to confront. Grace has spent her career looking down at woman that have refused to see what is front of them. Now that the tables have turned, she must rebuild. She can no longer defend a husband that cannot be found. She can no longer trust what she has been told by the man that has been her world for seventeen years.

This is where the book becomes repetitive and boring. We get it Grace, you were lied to and your husband is a sociopath. You are a therapist and yet the reader was miles ahead of you as to what was going on. Granted, you wanted to believe the lies that were told, but you were a grown woman.

Anyone that has been in a marriage that was built on lies will be angry at this book. Maybe it is the mirror that is being held up and we see too much of ourselves. Maybe it is the fact that this book was overly long and it took too much work for the main character to get to the light bulb moment or maybe it was the new man that suddenly rides into Grace’s life – and we all know the reality of that actually happening. Anyhow, this book will hit a nerve in some, bore others to tears and be completely forgettable in a couple of months.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Rememberers

Title: The Rememberers
Author: C. Edward Baldwin
Published: June 1st 2015 by Ink & Stone Publishing
Format: eBook, Paperback 350 pages
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and BookBuzz for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

What started out as an interesting concept in the beginning turned stupid by the end. I do not know what C. Edward Baldwin was thinking, but you take a curious hypothesis about time being circular and not linear, churches coming together to work this out, terrorists that want to change outcomes, people that can remember prior cycles, Government agencies trying to get a handle on this and rogue operatives that are not who or what they seem, and you have the beginning of a very good thriller. Unfortunately, the author messed this up.

By the end, I could not wait for the book to be over, to find that one redeeming quality and I was still at a loss. Guess I should have used my own intuition and realized that when I began forcing myself to read I should have just put it away and never looked back.

Granted, there was a rainbows and unicorn moment, but it was so overly done it was laughable. The book was a complete waste of time and I suggest that you run away from it as quickly as possible.